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Adewale Martins: A decade of fatherly priesthood in Lagos Catholic archdiocese

Adewale Martins: A decade of fatherly priesthood in Lagos Catholic archdiocese

Pope Benedict XVi on 25th May, 2012, appointed and elevated Alfred Adewale Martins, as the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos. However, history was made on 4 August, as the elevated Archbishop, Martins who was formerly the bishop of Abeokuta diocese was installed as the Archbishop of Lagos.

Prior to Martins’ tenure as the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, there were only seven deaneries in the Archdiocese of Lagos. However, the deaneries increased to 15 in 2016, and have increased to 20 deaneries with about 10 parishes constituting each deanery.

Since 2012, over 40 parish Churches in the Archdiocese of Lagos have been dedicated for worship of God. Similarly, the Church has ordained about 53 priests: over 23 male religious communities are currently working in the Archdiocese of Lagos as against 15 male religious communities as at 2013. Also, over 29 female religious communities are currently working in the Archdiocese of Lagos as against 21 female religious communities as at 2013.

“Consequent on the fact that growth and change are constant, and with the responsibility of taking care of the needs and welfare of priests especially in them old age, the Archbishop has looked forward to a future where elderly priests who have devoted their entire lives to the service of God and His people, will themselves be specially cared for in their time of need.

“This has led to the establishment of the St. John Mary Vianney Priests Home project which would serve the core objective of enhancing the lives of Archdiocesan Priests in their retirement, ensuring that all the needs are met. The project at present is getting stronger by the day and we enjoin all people of goodwill to make their own impacts in bringing the dream and vision into fruition,” Paul Ariole, secretary to the archbishop, wrote in his citation, ‘Ten year journey of his grace.'”

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According to Ariole, in keeping with the dictates of the Second Vatican Council which emphasises communion and involvement of all Christ’s faithful in the advancement of God’s kingdom, the Archbishop, through various media, has pushed forward for a structure of cocentricism as against the pyramid structure of former tides.

“Key Laity projects include Leading for Faith Mission (LFM), Antioch Pastoral institute, St. Gregory School of Pastoral Music, Cecilian school of music, St. JohnPaul i School for Marriage and Family, Diploma in Catechesis and the implementation of Parish Guidelines for Pastoral councils, Finance councils and Human Resource Management since 2015,” Ariole wrote.

In the first decade of Martins as the archbishop of Lagos, a number of directorates, commissions and academies have been revamped to further the evangelisation mission of the Church in Lagos. These commissions and institutions such as the Evangelisation Commission, Caritas Lagos, St. Gregory Diploma School of Pastoral Music were created to deepen the understanding and practice of the Catholic faith while existing directorates and units, such as the Marriage & Human Life Unit and the Social Communications Directorate were strengthened with the active support of the Archbishop.

In areas of education, the flagship institution of the Archdiocese, Augustine University is being supported to grow into a citadel of higher learning with the Catholic tradition of providing excellent education. Newer faculties for socio-economic need courses have been accredited for the university in ‘communication technology’ with strident efforts to include engineering, law and medicine into the institution’s course offerings.

In the quest to provide lower cost secondary education in the Archdiocese, new secondary schools were established to cater for the educational needs of lower income families. The St. Augustine College of Education was equally revamped to meet the need for teachers and educators in various fields of study.